BY BOLUWAJI OBAHOPO
LOKOJA— Fifteen persons have been reported dead in Kogi, following a motor accident which occurred Wednesday night on Magongo‑Okene road.
The state Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, Mr Godwin Omiko, told newsmen in Lokoja yesterday that the accident, which involved three vehicles, occurred about 10:15 p.m. at the border between Kogi and Edo states.
He said the victims were mostly public health officers under the employment of the Local Government Service Commission of Kaduna State.
According to him, the public health officers were 400‑Level students travelling to Cotonou, Benin Republic, to write their first semester examination at Houdegbe North American University.
Omiko said eight male and six female adults were among the dead, along with a female child on the trip with her mother.
He said the accident occurred when a Toyota bus with number plate Kogi LG 25 DAH rammed into an oncoming Toyota Hiace passenger bus with number Lagos AAA 463 XD which also hit another vehicle in the front.
He said: “Due to the impact, the passenger bus immediately caught fire, thereby burning 14 of the passengers beyond recognition.
“Three victims, including a female child, were rescued by FRSC officials but the child later died in the hospital few hours later.”
Omiko said 12 of the victims had been given mass burial at the public cemetery at Magongo in the presence of policemen from Ogori Police Division while the corpses of the female child and that of two other male adults were deposited at the Obagende General Hospital morgue. He also said one Idris Abdulahi, the driver of the Toyota Hiace bus believed to be responsible for the crash, had been arrested and is now in Police custody.
The Sector Commander said preliminary investigations revealed that the driver was drunk and drove recklessly, which caused the accident.
He advised Nigerians to avoid night travel, saying apart from poor visibility, rescue operations could be difficult in the night.